Letter: Misunderstanding the Irish identity

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The Independent Online
Sir: Marjorie Daunt (Letters, 9 December) mistakes the relationship between politics and identity when she writes that 'the Irish were British before they became 'foreigners' in 1921'.

As a second-generation Irish person who is comfortable with an Irish identity in an English context, I take issue with her attempt to define identity purely in terms of political territory.

Some people are born British. Irish people born after 1921 have been known to achieve Britishness, passing some notional quality test that allows certain sections of the media to label them as made in Britain. Others have had Britishness thrust upon them by Ms Daunt.

Her generalisation about Irish identity is, at best, unhelpful. For Irish people born before 1921 and for Irish people born in this country, the adjective British is a wholly inadequate term of reference.

Yours sincerely,

SIOBHAN HOLLAND

Leeds

10 December

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